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A Decade of Genre Greats: We Look Back at Horror Movies of the 2010s



A Decade of Genre Greats: We Look Back at Horror Movies of the 2010s

It has been a great decade for the genre. The first half of it was dominated by jump scare films focused on the supernatural such as The Last Exorcism, Sinister, Insidious and The Conjuring.

Others tried to push the boundaries of what could be shown on screen. A Serbian Film, The Human Centipede 2, Kill List and The House That Jack Built shocked audiences with their extremely disturbing content.

However, comedy horror still endured. Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, What We Do in the Shadows and The Cabin in the Woods mocked genre tropes in clever ways. Bad Milo!, Sightseers, The Voices, Krampus and Little Monsters did a great job of balancing humour and scares. The Greasy Strangler was absolutely batshit insane, with a shrill soundtrack and John Waters style of filmmaking.

Bad Milo!

Familiar monstrous faces returned. This included Chucky, the Leprechaun (this time played by Linden Porco), Victor Crowley, Ghostface, Mick Taylor, Michael Myers, the Crites, the Firefly Family and the puppets of Andre Toulon. It is safe to say that sequels are still an important part of modern horror.

After an impressively dark Evil Dead remake, Ash finally returned with his own TV series. Episodes had addictive pacing, fun gory effects and a hilarious performance from Bruce Campbell.

There was a saturation of shark movies. Many of them were silly and cheap like the Sharknado series. However, others such as The Reef and 47 Meters Down took their subjects seriously and pulled off taut thrillers.

Confined spaces became scary again thanks to the claustrophobic Don’t Breathe, 10 Cloverfield Lane and Gerald’s Game. Meanwhile, some filmmakers chose historical periods for their settings. Overlord was an impressive action packed Nazi zombie movie. Bone Tomahawk pitted an Old West sheriff against troglodyte cannibals.

Don't Breathe

Contributions from international directors began to be better recognised. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, The Babadook, Raw, Baskin and Rare Exports: A Christmas Story are just a few examples.

Towards the end of the decade supernatural horror was superseded by surreal films with psychologically fractured characters and narratives. Braid, Unsane, Annihilation and Berberian Sound Studio stand out in particular.

It’s hard to pick out the very best horror movies of the past ten years but several stand out. The Autopsy of Jane Doe had perfect claustrophobic tension and an amazing performance by Brian Cox. The beautifully psychedelic style of Mandy made it one of the most unique films ever made. Suspiria showed us that some remakes can transcend the original and had a very memorable soundtrack from Thom Yorke.

Happy Death Day was an absolute joy with its time hopping narrative and brilliant lead actress Jessica Rothe. Terrifier was a refreshingly simple chase movie with extremely graphic gore and a new iconic villain, Art the Clown.

Terrifier Art 1

It Follows made supernatural horror scary again and had audience members looking over their shoulders when they left the cinema. The Guest started out as a slow burn mystery before literally exploding into a violent thriller. The Witch was one of the most unnerving films of the decade.

Several directors rose to prominence in the genre. Kevin Smith gave us grisly films like Tusk and Red State. Rob Zombie continued his fun 70s grimy carnie style. Eli Roth returned to horror with his cannibal satire, the Green Inferno. Ari Aster gained international acclaim thanks to Hereditary and Midsommar.

Directing trio François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell gave us the wonderful retro movies Turbo Kid and Class of 84. Perhaps the most successful filmmaker of the decade was Jordan Peele. His politically charged Get Out and Us has had a massive impact on modern horror.

The commercial success of Peele’s work and IT has led to a surge in the production of bigger budget horror movies. It will be interesting to see what gets released in the 2020s. Two more Halloween sequels and a Candyman remake have already been announced. There are also talks of a Nightmare on Elm Street revival. It seems likely that new filmmakers will emerge with creative fresh takes on the genre as well. It’s going to be an exciting decade.